Published Thursday, June 8, 2017 2:48 pm
Betheline Kesterson passed away May 23, 2017, at Brookdale-Longmont in Longmont, Colo. She was 91 years old. She was born in Mullinville, Kan. on Nov. 26, 1925, to Leslie and Bonnie McDonald. Betheline had a wry sense of humor, which always brought a laugh when she said her mother waited to birth her until Thanksgiving Day so her mother wouldn't have to fix dinner. At the age of 16, Betheline eloped with her high school sweetheart, 18-year-old Everett Kesterson on May 2, 1942. Everett preceded her in death after 71 years of marriage. They had two children, Shelby Kesterson of Longmont, Colo., and Jana Brown of Topeka, Kan.
Her grandfather, Preston E. McDonald, left Indiana in 1885 in a covered wagon to seek farmland in western Kansas and helped Mr. Mullin lay the original town site of Mullinville. She grew up on a farm four miles north of Mullinville and endured the dust storms of the Depression. She was the baby of the family with three brothers, Glen, Robert, Ralph and sister Geneva, all of whom preceded her in death.
Betheline's father had wanted her to be the first McDonald to go to college. Imagine the tension in the McDonald household when her sister broke the news to her father that Betheline had eloped. Although she never graduated high school, she was intelligent and always eager to learn. She educated herself through reading and worked at various jobs in her early years of marriage. She wrote numerous poems and lyrics for hymns. She was very humble and because she was her harshest critic, her written works were rarely shared. She became an accomplished painter by learning art techniques from how-to books. She enjoyed painting landscapes and still life. She knitted, crocheted, tatted, embroidered and weaved. The quality in all of these art forms was superlative. In her later years, she and Everett loved to fish on Grand Mesa with their Cedaredge friends. Anyone who came in contact with her immediately felt welcomed and safe. Her table was always filled with generous meals and warm conversation. Betheline's faith inspired her, and the harmonies she sang throughout her life endured into her dying days.
Betheline is survived by her children: Shelby Kesterson (Carolyn) and Jana Kesterson Brown (John Carey) and four grandchildren, Tyler Kesterson, (Stephanie) Philadelphia, Pa., Leah Kesterson Von Glahn (Ryan), Erie, Colo., David Brown (Melany), Ft. Worth, Texas, Elizabeth Hoffman (Brad), Overland Park, Kan., and seven great-grandchildren.
Betheline will be honored by an exhibition of her art and a celebration of her life with a hymn sing at the Chapel of the Cross in Cedaredge at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 10. In lieu of flowers, gifts can be made to the Cedaredge Library.